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hello

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English

Etymology

Hello (first attested in 1846) from hallo (attested 1840), from holla, hollo (attested 1588). This variant of hallo is often credited to Thomas Edison as a coinage for telephone use, but its appearance in print predates the invention of the telephone by several decades.

Possibly from the Old High German & Old Saxon verb halôn, holôn (to bring something, to gather), akin to English hale or hail.

Pronunciation

  • (UK) IPA: /həˈləʊ̯/, /hɛˈləʊ̯/, SAMPA: /h@"l@U/
  • (US) enPR: hĕ-lō' or hə-lō', IPA: /hɛˈloʊ̯/, /həˈloʊ̯/, SAMPA: /hE"loU/, /h@"loU/
Sense UK US
(greeting):  Audio (UK)help, file  Audio (US)help, file
(telephone greeting):  Audio (UK)help, file  Audio (US)help, file
(call for response):  Audio (UK)help, file  Audio (US)help, file
(sarcastic implication):  Audio (UK)help, file  Audio (US)help, file
(expressing puzzlement):  Audio (UK)help, file

Interjection

hello

  1. A greeting (salutation) said when meeting someone or acknowledging someone’s arrival or presence.
    Hello, everyone.
  2. A greeting used when answering the telephone.
    Hello? How may I help you?
  3. A call for response if it is not clear if anyone is present or listening, or if a telephone conversation may have been disconnected.
    Hello? Is anyone there?
  4. (colloquial) Used sarcastically to imply that the person addressed or referred to has done something the speaker or writer considers to be foolish.
    You just tried to start your car with your cell phone. Hello?
  5. An expression of puzzlement or discovery.
    Hello? What’s going on here?

Usage notes

  • The greeting hello is among the most generic and neutral in use. It may be heard in nearly all social situations and in nearly all walks of life, and is unlikely to cause offense.
  • In some languages the expression for hello is not a mere greeting but also includes a notion of well-wishing. For example, the Urdu greeting السلام علیکم (āssālam ‘alaykum) means May peace be upon you.

Quotations

Synonyms

Antonyms

Translations

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

See also

Elsewhere on the web

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